As humans, the environments where we develop can influence a lot in how we behave, live and interact. However, not all individuals process the environment the same way. There are does with special needs that process the world a bit different. But, what is exactly is “special need”? Special needs is a generic term used in a clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe the people who require assistance this, maybe a medical, mental, or psychological. This research is conducted to analyze one specific group of “special needs” which is Down Syndrome. How they develop and process the environment they interact in.
Moreover, this research search to discover how to make an environment more beneficial for a person with Down Syndrome, the pros and cons of some spaces for individuals with Down syndrome, and creating a stimulus for them that could help in their development as human’s beings. what is down syndrome? Its name was acquired by John Langdon Down, who was the first to discover the syndrome and classify it as a genetic alteration in 1866. Is really important to understand that, Down syndrome is not a disease. It is a type of chromosomal accommodation that occurs naturally and at the moment of conception. Is characterized by having an extra copy of chromosome 21 and it occurs in about 1 in every 800 births. There are three ways in which the extra chromosome is shown: Simple Trisomy: Approximately 95% of people who have Down syndrome have simple trisomy. This means that the cells of the organism possess 3 complete copies of chromosome 21.
Translocation:approximately 3.5% of people with Down syndrome have 2 complete pair of the 21 chromosomes, plus a considerable chunk of a third chromosome 21.Mosaicism: Approximately 1.5% of the cases, the extra chromosome is not present in all the cells of the organismEven though, the factors, that cause the chromosomal excess generated by Down syndrome are still unknown. On the other hand, it is believed to be one of the few genetical conditions that are not caused by parental behavior or the environment. There is not yet a cure for Down syndrome, but there are new ways to generate stimuli and aids that help them unwrap their potential in them through their lives. As thought, these aids or stimuli are strongly generated and influenced by the environment where a person with Down syndrome develops.It is not new that design some years ago didn’t take into consideration the people with special needs.
Recently the inclusive design has been a topic of matter. But what is exactly an inclusive design? It is Designing for Equality of Use, Flexibility, Easy and Intuitive, Perceptible Information, Error Tolerance, Low Physical Effort, Size and Space for Access. All the problems of each individual vary according to the degree of deficiency that the person possesses.Therefore, in an inclusive design, it should not only help the disabled but also his or her family. When a family with a member with a disability usually goes through difficult times throughout its life cycle, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Therefore, a design should not only give security and comfort to the individual with a disability but also to the family members who accompany him or her. The environment in which an individual with a disability develops should encourage, stimulate, and protect not only him or her but also their caregivers. More specifically when a member of a family has down syndrome When a family member has Down syndrome, the design must be consistent with the syndrome, not only satisfying their deficiency but embracing more and covering the needs of the whole family. This with the function that the individual with the syndrome do not feel different rather than they grow in an inclusive environmentDesigning for down syndrome: The design process of adapting a space suitable for an individual with down syndrome is not an easy task. There is a collection of factors that must be taken in considerations like age, gender, number of family members, ethnicity, personality, what enthusiasm them, emotional state, and their clinical condition. it is important to consider all the factors mentioned before in order to create a space that contributes to empowering any induvial with down syndrome that probably has been often underestimated or overlooked. A space where they can feel self-confident and independent, a space where your opinions are considered and your actions are valued.
A design that helps promote a healthy and active lifestyle and become a positive stimulus in their life that helps them makes them take good decisions. In addition, a designer can not set aside the caregivers when planning a space for special needs. They are a key element for the space and the individual with down syndrome.
The space must be adapted to the needs of the caregivers, in this way it would facilitate the care and would generate a better response to the giver and the receiver. Moreover, the space must procure efficiency and also by being helpful in cases such as when a person with down syndrome needs further assistant. For example, a panic attack or a rage attack, the space should be provided with all the tools at hand to cope with the situation with the situation in the best way, without causing any harm or bad experience to the individual. Designing a space requires a lot of standards. A space can be very complex and overwhelming. However, the success of a space would be determined by the users’ satisfaction. whether or not they meet the expectations of everyone.
This includes individuals with Down syndrome, family members, and caregivers. One of the most intimate and important space for anyone in the house. Which holds what we know as home, which is our haven from the rest of the world. When living with someone that has Down Syndrome, the things needed in the home can vary widely. Starting from the layout of the house it is recommended to have a simple layout, very straightforward, avoiding:Complicated furniture: for example, exuberant designs, overwhelming colors, and size, hard figure out, not friendly textiles, uncomfortable, with no ergonomics involved, rigid, too soft, or with sharp exposed edges.
Technology implemented in the house: too many commands, push bottoms, loud noises or shocking colors, everything control by an iPad or command center or simply an app.A totally modernized house might not be the best environment for a person with down syndrome, this is because it could be too complicated and overwhelming even simple things like doorknobs, security systems, plumming and others can come to a challenge. When it comes to the adaptations of a house for a person with Down’s syndrome, the more basic the better.in other words, a design that is really straightforward. A home for a person with down syndrome is every individual and personal, professional guidance is a good idea.
• OrganizationThe house should be arranged in a way that no item or element is left in different place or misplaced around the house. That can become not only a confusing situation for an individual with down syndrome but also a tripping hazard. Maintaining things in their respective place would make easier for an individual with down syndrome to accommodate and adapt to the space. • Space perception It is important to delimitate the physical boundaries of the space, to avoid confusion because it is difficult for an individual with Down syndrome to identify the limits between spaces that are not delineated appropriately. For example, there are houses that use one single room as Livingroom, dining, and kitchen without any separation. Also, people with down syndrome pay particular attention to the privacy of a space and how this sense of privacy could make distinct one space from another.
Individuals with down syndrome have shown that their bedroom is, in fact, their favorite room to be in, that means they value privacy and they need to have a personal space available. Privacy even though of its intangible nature, it builds some kind of boundary between two subspaces. • LightingThis is a really interesting and important factor in a design. Spaces should be fully illuminated; clear vision is a must. Individuals with Down syndrome have a particular attraction for light fixtures.
Such as windows, illuminated objects, and surfaces. Plenty of light should be available in the zones. Although, some elements should be avoided, such as mirrors, metal objects, direct light. In genal, objects that create glare should be avoided in the common areas and bedrooms. Some elements should be added to the space. For example, windows must have a be curtains that’s is adjustable in order to have natural light when necessary.
• Material landmarks The importance of the materials for an individual with down syndrome in their everyday life can make a big significance in regard to their day to day rituals and habit. Individuals with down syndrome can analyze the space and memorize each piece of furniture and element in the space, associating them by color, texture, Hight, width and in some cases smell. For example, a brown wooden table where they might have work or craft something on it, a soft sofa where they might have spent time with their family or by themselves watching tv, a stool made out of wood whether is tall or small where an individual might have had some sort of memory in it. All does little details make a space recognizable and acceptable for an individual with down syndrome even if the room is rearranged.
Not having these elements included in the space can be potentially disturbing. • ColorsColor influences temperament and personality. Colors can be a high stimulus for individuals with down syndrome. Colors have a particular appliance with how an individual perceives visual-spatial memories. Colors also improve the vision of an individual with down syndrome making them more aware of their space and the details that are in it. However, not every color is suitable for a space planned to be used for an induvial with down syndrome, shocking colors can create confusion and overwhelm in the space. For example, neon colors, bright reds or yellows, should be avoided. It is recommended that light objects are set against a dark background to facilitate their location.
For example, light switches. Even though sometimes patterns and decorations can look nice in the space, it would be preferable to avoid them. Floor and walls should have simple and solid colors to avoid confusion. • 5 senses in the space Individuals with down syndrome engage all their 5 senses to expiree fully a space. for example, when entering an space and hear a loud crowded they don’t feel any privacy at all and they feel the space is animated or busy, this could be overwhelming sometimes because of the loss of privacy. On the other hand, when the room is to quiet they can recognize that they are the only individual in the room which makes them feel they are in a private zone.
The design of the space should engage each sense in its max capacity in other for them to feel happy and comfortable in the space. • Safety Safety is one of the most important things to be taken in any design. Moreover, safety should be the priority to take care of an individual with down syndrome. Hazards can be anywhere. As designers, we should try to lower or eliminate any hazard.
For example furniture should be set out of regular walkways to avoid tripping hazards, things against walls along hallways should all be placed on the same wall to avoid a collision, stairs should also be the same height to avoid tripping hazards. In conclusion, the design should no longer consider disability as a threat or obstacle, it rather suggests that people with down syndrome experience space with some particular sensitivities that enhance a creativity source for the designer. seeing disability as a potential opportunity without discriminations opening the opportunity of inclusion.